Thursday, June 23, 2011


 I always say I'm going to try new recipes. Well it was time to actually try something new!! A few months ago I picked up a book at Target. It caught my eye because it's a "Cupcake Mystery"!! I like mysteries and, duh, I like cupcakes!! It's about two women who own a cupcake shop and find themselves in the middle of a murder. Typical, right? I don't care, I liked the book! So much, that I found the other one in the series and read it too! And I can't wait for more to be published :) Anyway, here are the books: 
 Jenn McKinlay is a big baker also. That was one of her inspirations for the books. And she included recipes in the books! If you'd like to learn more about Jenn and her books, this is her website: Jenn Mckinlay. The recipe I used today is (I'm pretty sure - it was a library book) from Sprinkle with Murder. She calls them Tinkerbells. It's a lemon cake with raspberry buttercream. Of course, she does cupcakes, but I made mine into a cake. I thought this sounded delicious!!! I tried something similar at a new cupcake boutique in town so why not try my own!! 

I love this recipe. I almost don't want to share it. But can I really hold a recipe hostage when it's not even mine to begin with. I could make you go buy the book. I could make a deal with Mrs. McKinlay! Ha, right... 
here you go:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature (mine were just large)
1/3 cup grated lemon zest
3 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and 2 cups of sugar until fluffy (about five minutes). With the mixer on medium speed, add eggs one at a time and the lemon zest.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine the lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add the flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to the batter, beginning and ending with the flour.

I baked 6 inch cakes. I have two pans so with two in at a time it took 30 minutes. It made three full size 6 inch and one half size 6 inch.
Jenn McKinlay's cupcake route: bake 20 minutes. Makes 24. After iced, roll in pink sugar.

My three lemons.
Zesting! (apparently that's not a real word)
According the recipe she says it takes 6-8 large lemons. I got 1/3 cup of zest from 2. Maybe I need to do more zesting (still going to use it :) research, but what I did worked for me! Everything turned out alright and I didn't have to run back to the store. Always a plus. 

There aren't any pictures, but soon after this, I squeezed the lemons for that fresh lemon juice. That's always fun. An easy way to find any little scratch or sore spot on your hands: cover them in lemon juice!

 This is the beginning of creaming the butter and sugar.
Five minutes later!! Fluffy.
Now I followed the directions and kept it at medium speed to add the eggs. Does anyone else have this issue with the speeds on their stand mixers? Medium seemed incredibly fast to me!! I have a tendency to keep my mixer on low, like, all the time. I'm a little scaredy cat. Especially with icings. I'm scared I'm just whipping a ton of air bubbles into it if I go any faster than low. Does anyone else feel this way? Have advice? Should I buck up and pick up the speed in some cases?
Also, for the buttermilk, I just had regular milk and added some lemon juice to make it buttermilk. Which was kinda ironic because you end up mixing the buttermilk with lemon juice... But yet again, I had no issues.

Ready for the Raspberry Buttercream??

1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup fresh raspberries
**wash raspberries thoroughly beforehand

(I doubled the recipe)
I creamed the shortening and the butter, then added powdered sugar 2 cups at a time. After 6 cups of powdered sugar, I added half the raspberries since it seemed a little dry. Then I added the last two cups and the rest of the berries. 
I was surprised that it had no water or liquid to add. I was going to add some but went ahead and decorated it. Of course, nothing goes as planned. I'm not sure how I wanted to decorate the cake, but of course I want it to look pretty!! But my husband got home early from work so it threw my cake decorating time off.
Fresh raspberries 
 It looks kinda dry to me, but tastes delicious.
 My sample. I wish I could say this cupcake is all I ate of the cake...
 Stacked and ready to go.
 I did this random border. I liked it. I tried desperately to get a picture of it, but my camera didn't seem to want to focus on it. Surely you get the idea.
 Another try.
 There you go.
My mother-in-law gave me the cake stand. Can you tell I love it :)

P.S. What do you guys think of the font? It's more fun than the normal font, but is it hard to read? Btw, exclamation points look like long lower case L's. Example: Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi Lydia! First, thanks for the recipe. I love lemon cake and I want to do more scratch baking so can't wait to try this one. Second, thanks for the book titles. I'm headed to the beach in a few weeks and those sound perfect for beach chair reading!

    Oh, and I like the font. It is more fun.

  2. I like the font and your pictures are great. Wish I could have a piece of that cake. I made the chocolate chip cookie cake and tried a chocolate chip batter icing that is really yummy. I found it on that site you sent me for cupcakes. You just add flour and brown sugar to a buttercream frosting. I'm taking the cake to work tomorrow. But now that I've seen your pics, I'm going upstairs and make a pic of it first.

  3. Pattie, I hope you like the books! I really did. Recently I've been reading Emily Giffin books. They're more about real life relationships, but I enjoyed them.

    Thanks Kathy! I want to try that buttercream!! How much flour and brown sugar? I hope to see some pictures too!